Prabowo's military record in public spotlight again after being made 4-star general

CNN Indonesia – February 28, 2024
Prabowo leaving TNI HQ after receiving honorary rank of 4-star general – February 28, 2024 (CNN)

Jakarta – The moment Prabowo Subianto was dismissed from the Indonesian Armed Forces (then called ABRI) has again been in the public spotlight after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo awarded the Defense Minister and presumptive president the rank of honorary four-star general.

The video of Prabowo's dismissal from ABRI can be viewed on the Associated Press YouTube archive channel. The video shows the ceremony in which then Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto is dismissed from ABRI.

During the ceremony, he is accompanied by General Wiranto, who at that time served as ABRI commander-in-chief. Following the ceremony, Wiranto gives a press statement regarding Prabowo's dismissal.

"Fellow journalists and the public in general, TNI (Indonesian military) Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto has ended his term of service in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia", said Wiranto in the YouTube video archive titled "INDONESIA: LIEUTENANT GENERAL PRABOWO SUBIANTO IS DISMISSED" (

Leaked to the public

A scan of Prabowo's dismissal letter from the ABRI circulated on the internet in 2014 ahead of the presidential elections after the Officers Honorary Council (DKP) official letter was leaked to the public. reported on the contents of the DKP decision Number KEP/03/VIII/1998/DKP (

In the letter, it states that Prabowo was declared guilty of a number of policies while in the military. One of the cases decided on in the letter was the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98.

The DKP said Prabowo ordered members of the Rose Team (Tim Mawar) Task Force, the Merpati Task Force, through Infantry Colonel Chairawan (and Group-4) and Infantry Major Bambang Kristiono to uncover, arrest and detain the activists.

This resulted in the abduction of several activists, namely Andi Arief, Aan Rusdianto, Mugiyanto, Nezar Patria, Haryanto Taslam, Rahardjo Waluyojati, Faisol Reza, Pius Lustrilanang and Desmond J. Mahesa.

"The officer under investigation in the name of Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto, is advised he is to be subject to administrative punishment in the form of being dismissed from military service", read a quite from the conclusion of the letter as reported by Detik on June 9, 2014.

The TNI commander at that time of the leak, General Moeldoko, denied that the letter was kept at the TNI Headquarters and stated that he would investigate the party that leaked it.

Prabowo not sacked

When sought for confirmation yesterday, the TNI emphasised that Prabowo was not dismissed in 1998. The TNI's statement was in response to public doubts ahead of Prabowo's being awarded the rank of honorary four-star general.

"According to Presidential Decree Number 62/ABRI/98 dated November 22, 1998, the contents of the decision were to honorably discharge [Prabowo] and [he was] to receive his rights to a pension, there was no use of the word dismissal", said TNI Information Center head Major General Nugraha Gumilar in an SMS message sent to CNN Indonesia on Tuesday February 27. (dhf/ugo)


According to the document leaked in July 2014, which was a scanned copy of the official letter signed by members of the Indonesian Military's (TNI) Officers Honorary Council (DKP) tasked with hearing the case of Prabowo's complicity in the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98, the former Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) commander was also fired from his position due to insubordination and disregard for the military code. The DKP concluded that Prabowo had disgraced and disregarded the military system and committed a criminal offense and on August 21, 1998, dismissed him from military service. A summary of the document by the Jakarta Post can be read at and an English translation and the images of the document can be read here:

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pernyataan Wiranto Saat Berhentikan Prabowo dari ABRI".]